Subtle Straightening with Invisalign

Invisalign Cedar ParkSubtle straightening of teeth for improving the smile was once only treatable with full orthodontic appliances. With Invisalign, subtle straightening is possible and can easily fit into a patient’s daily routine with minimal behavioral changes or inconveniences. Invisalign utilizes clear, custom-made aligners that can be removed for eating and oral hygiene habits, making it easier for patients to continue their daily lifestyles while benefiting from the subtle straightening treatment.

The process begins with a visit to an Invisalign provider. After reviewing pictures, X-rays, and models of the teeth made from impressions taken in the office, the Invisalign dentist customizes the treatment plan for each individual patient. A series of aligners are made and at regular intervals, the aligners are changed to gradually move and guide teeth to straighter and healthier positions. Through the use of custom-made Invisalign aligners, gaps between teeth can be closed, slightly overlapping teeth can be repositioned for a better fit and smoother appearance, and the smile can be drastically improved in a matter of months. 

Invisalign utilizes clear, custom-made aligners that can be removed for eating and oral hygiene habits, making it easier for patients to continue their daily lifestyles while benefiting from the subtle straightening treatment.

The aligners are worn an average of 22 hours every day, and regular visits to the Invisalign dentist are necessary to ensure consistent progress and accurate timing for aligner changes. The aligners are clear and durable, but not unbreakable so patients are given specific instructions for maintaining the aligners. Aligners are cleaned with specially designed Invisalign cleaner tablets, similar to the tablets made for soaking and cleaning dental prosthetics. They can, alternatively, be cleaned with a gentle liquid soap and cool water. Hot water should be avoided as the heat can cause inadvertent bending and warping.

Invisalign aligners should be removed during eating and drinking. Chewing with the aligners in causes unnecessary pressure that can lead to damage. Beverages can seep into the aligners and cause staining or enamel damage to teeth, especially acidic and highly pigmented beverages. Water can be consumed with and without the aligners in, without concern. Regular daily flossing and twice-daily brushing habits are easily maintained with the removable aligners, as well.

For more information about subtle straightening and Invisalign options, contact our experienced dentistry team and schedule your professional consultation today.

Posted in: Invisalign

Leave a Comment (0) →

Do Certain Health Conditions Reduce Implant Success?

dental implants north AustinThe success of dental implants relies heavily on the patient’s overall and oral health before and after implantation, and the patient’s oral health, and to some extent their overall health, rely on good oral hygiene habits. Patients that are healthy, floss daily, and brush their teeth at least twice daily, with no signs of gum disease or other oral health concerns are generally considered good candidates for successful implant treatment. Patients with chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes may require additional care to improve potential for success with dental implants.

Risk of infection is at the top of the list concerning implant patients. Gum disease can increase the likelihood of an infection developing and disrupting the healing process after implant surgery. It can also spread to the bloodstream and affect overall health, especially in patients with heart conditions. The healing process requires the jawbone to heal with the implant in place, and if this is interrupted the dental implant may not hold successfully. Dentists work with patients to improve overall conditions before performing the implant surgery, helping to ensure greater success.

Patients with diabetes and some heart conditions may struggle with repeated gum infections, gum disease, or related periodontal disease. These conditions must be improved prior to dental implant surgery. Part of the treatment process is helping the patient learn better brushing, flossing, and at-home oral health techniques, establishing consistent oral hygiene habits, and, when necessary, treating the periodontal conditions prior to implant surgery. If the jawbone is affected by underlying conditions, there may be insufficient bone to support the dental implant. In such a case, a bone graft is usually combined with the implant procedure for greater success.

The dentist works with patients on an individual basis to ensure the best chance of successful healing and long-term satisfaction from dental implant surgery. This may involve additional treatment factors to prepare for the implant, or it may involve more frequent follow-up care to ensure healing is sufficient after the procedure.

For more detailed information on dental implants and options that suit different needs, contact Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 today!

Posted in: dental implants

Leave a Comment (0) →

Can I Still Drink Tea and Coffee with Invisalign?

Invisalign north AustinIf you’re treating your misaligned or crooked teeth with Invisalign, it’s important to keep your trays in good shape and to keep them clean. If the aligner trays become warped or damaged, they won’t move your teeth properly. If they become stained, your teeth will look dingy until you switch to a new tray. For both these reasons, it’s important not to drink tea or coffee while you are wearing your aligner trays.

Caring for Your Invisalign Aligner Trays

When you received your aligner trays, our dentist will provide instructions regarding how to take care of them, how often to change them, and how long you should wear them every day. For the best possible results from your treatment, you should follow these instructions closely.

In general, guidelines on how to take care of your trays include:

  • Wear the trays at least 22 hours every day
  • Remove the trays when you eat
  • Rinse the trays to keep them clean and free of food debris
  • Avoid hot beverages or foods that can stain the trays

The trays are designed to move your teeth into the proper position, so it’s important to keep them clean and avoid anything that could change their shape.

Why Avoid Coffee and Tea?

Coffee and tea can affect your Invisalign treatment in two ways. First, they are usually hot beverages, so the heat of the liquid can cause your trays to warp out of their proper shape. Second, they are both staining agents. In the same way that tea and coffee can stain your teeth, they can also stain your aligner trays. If the trays become stained, they will no longer be clear. Because you have to wear each tray for about two weeks, during that time the stains will be visible, making your teeth look discolored.

If you want to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with your breakfast, remove your trays first. However, be sure not to leave them out of your mouth for an extended period of time.

Call Balcones Family Dental today to set up an appointment with one of our skilled dentists.

Posted in: Invisalign

Leave a Comment (0) →

Benefits of Fluoride Treatments

north Austin dentistOn your regular visits to the dentist, you probably receive a fluoride treatment about once a year. These treatments help protect your teeth from decay and can even reverse decay in its very early stages. With these regular treatments, your teeth stay as healthy as possible.

How Does Fluoride Work?

Fluoride is one of a few minerals that help keep the teeth strong. Teeth are constantly being eroded by acids in the food we eat and beverages we drink. In addition, bacteria in the mouth create waste products that are also highly acidic and damage the teeth. If acidic food remnants or the plaque bacteria leaves behind are not cleaned away, they eat into the outer tooth surfaces. The early stage of this process is called demineralization. Eventually, the acids can eat through the enamel, creating decay.

Fluoride, however, helps rebuild the enamel through a process called remineralization. Fluoride strengthens the damaged areas and reverses the earliest stages of tooth decay. It also helps your teeth remain stronger and more resistant to acid erosion. This is why it’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis. In many places, fluoride is also added to drinking water, which helps keep teeth healthy, as well, especially the teeth of children, who have more difficulty maintaining regular dental care.

Fluoride strengthens the damaged areas and reverses the earliest stages of tooth decay.

Why Do I Need Extra Fluoride?

Fluoride treatments are a common procedure in dentistry. But if there is fluoride added to our drinking water, and we use toothpaste with added fluoride, why is it necessary to have fluoride treatments when we go to the dentist? The answer is that a dentist can use a stronger, more concentrated form of fluoride, and can apply it to your teeth in a variety of ways.

In the dental office, fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish. Regular fluoride treatments are typically a gel or a foam, which helps strengthen the teeth and reverse minor decay that regular-strength fluoride hasn’t been able to remineralize. Fluoride varnishes can be used to reduce sensitivity and to seal the teeth to further protect from decay, so these applications of fluoride work even more thoroughly to protect your teeth.

Call our office at 512-200-7422 to set up your next appointment.

Posted in: dentist

Leave a Comment (0) →

The Important Role Saliva Plays in Oral Health

dentist north AustinSaliva is one of those things you never think about … that is until it is absent. The healthy mouth produces saliva day and night. If your mouth feels abnormally dry, your dentist should be consulted to determine the cause for the lack of saliva.

Saliva is the water produced by the salivary glands located in your mouth. Chewing, sucking, any mouth activity will generally induce saliva production. And this moisture has multiple responsibilities.

Saliva allows teeth and tongue to function properly allowing words to be formed correctly. If the mouth is dry or sticky, speaking becomes difficult, lips can become chapped, and your throat may become irritated.

Swallowing is aided by the moisture we produce when chewing. And the content of our “spit” aids in digestion.

Saliva has been coined “nature’s mouthwash” as this natural moisture helps keep the mouth flushed of harmful germs and bacteria. Without this constant flushing action, bad breath, dental decay, and gum disease are possible side effects. The continuous flow of saliva works to protect dental enamel.

What causes a dry mouth? There are some temporary situations like using an antihistamine when suffering from a cold or allergies. This medication is geared to dry up nasal congestion, but it usually does not stop there and can impact saliva production.

Nervousness at times like when preparing to address a crowd can make the mouth go dry.

These situations are temporary, but when your condition becomes more serious or permanent, your dentist can help.

Other more critical medications like those used to control high blood pressure or depression can cause dry mouth. Illness or advancing age can impact saliva production. When dry mouth lasts or becomes severe, this is called xerostomia. Your dentist may be able to change or adjust your medication.

When your mouth feels dry, you can try chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free candy. Your dentist can recommend one of the many rinses available to promote oral moisture. Staying hydrated by consuming water throughout the day is helpful.

Saliva is critical to oral health. Brushing and flossing daily, and getting teeth cleaned by your dental professional every six months are things you can do to maintain dental health. But if you are experiencing an interruption in saliva production, see one of our dentists to improve your health and oral comfort.

Call our practice and set up a consultation with one of our dentists at Balcones Family Dental.

Posted in: dentist

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top Teeth-Staining Foods and Beverages

cosmetic dentistry Round RockA visit to the dentist results in great looking teeth. But within weeks, teeth can appear discolored or stained. Many people think only coffee or red wine can stain; however, anything you consume that is brightly colored (tomato sauce, beets, and berries) or sugar laden (soda, sports drinks, and candy) just to name a few, have the capability of staining your teeth. A consultation about cosmetic dentistry will provide a solution to match your budget and time frame.

Teeth stains can impact your willingness to eat, speak, and smile in public. After all, our teeth say a lot about us; so if your teeth have become discolored or marred by food stains or lifestyle habits, one brief dental appointment can make a life changing improvement.

Teeth stains can impact your willingness to eat, speak, and smile in public.

Your first dental appointment should be for a hygienic cleaning to remove plaque build-up. An exam will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the most economical, yet impactful, cosmetic dentistry … teeth whitening.

With Zoom teeth whitening, your dental provider will take all the needed precautions to guarantee a successful outcome. The soft oral tissues are protected before the powerful whitening gel is applied to teeth. A laser is applied to expedite the process.

Our dentist will determine if a second application is needed to maximize the benefit of teeth whitening. But in this one brief appointment, you can expect teeth to be lightened up to eight shades. With Zoom in-office whitening, teeth can continue to brighten up to two weeks following treatment.

There are steps you can take to maintain your new bright smile. Avoiding drinking red wine, coffee, tea, and soda is not practical for many people. So, if you are going to imbibe, use a straw when consuming cold drinks. A straw will allow the beverage to bypass your newly whitened enamel. Never swish or hold beverages before swallowing.

Citrus has the capability to soften dental enamel, so avoid consumption of teeth staining foods and beverages as softened enamel can stain. Do not brush your teeth immediately after consuming citrus as dental enamel can be damaged.

Avoid tobacco products as the teeth are discolored whether smoked or chewed.

Once you have achieved your teeth whitening makeover, you can maintain your new smile by following the instructions of our cosmetic dentist … brush and floss daily and have teeth cleaned professionally every six months.

Call our office at 512-200-7422 to set up your teeth whitening appointment today.

Posted in: cosmetic dentistry

Leave a Comment (0) →

Common Misconceptions About Dental Health

Austin dentistMisconceptions surrounding dental health pose some of the greatest challenges to dentists and dental clinics. These professionals cannot keep all patients happy and healthy without patient support; they require help from the patients to optimize results in care. Educating patients to eliminate misconceptions goes a long way in establishing or improving overall dental health, which in turn has a positive impact on overall physical health.

Misconceptions regarding dental caries, more commonly known as cavities, leave many patients confused at dental checkups. Many believe that cavities are more common in children, which is far from true. Cavities can occur in any mouth with teeth, whether a child, adult, dog, or cat. Another misconception regarding cavities is their cause, with many believing that cavities come from sugar. While this is somewhat true, table sugar is not the only type of sugar consumed. Any carbohydrates consumed will breakdown into simpler sugars, and all of these can lead to increases in cavities, including carbohydrates from pasta and bread.

Despite the wide availability of dental floss, most dentists have patients that never touch the stuff! Patients complain about floss causing their gums to bleed, but in reality the gums bleed partly from not flossing. Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease or inflammation in the gums. Patients that have sufficient brushing habits, brushing at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, experience far less gum irritation and bleeding than those that are less diligent with their at-home oral health habits. These brushing and flossing patients also tend to have easier checkups when visiting the dentist.

More serious misconceptions about dental health can lead to major health concerns. Periodontal disease, for example, if left untreated or if treated insufficiently, will progress and in advanced stages the bloodstream can carry the bacteria from the gums to the heart causing cardiovascular problems, among other potential risks. Likewise, non-dental illnesses and treatments can negatively affect teeth, bones, gums, and other aspects of oral health, leading to discoloration in teeth, weakened bone structure, bone loss, dry mouth, slow healing, or even tooth loss.

Discussing all health concerns with the dentist can improve treatment efforts for better dental and physical health. When patients treat dental health as important to overall health, and vice versa, the whole-body approach to treatment and preventive care is greatly improved. For more information about dental health, contact our skilled specialists at Balcones Family Dental today!

Posted in: dentist

Leave a Comment (0) →

Tooth Loss Can Have Far-Reaching Effects on Your Dental Health

dental implants north AustinThe loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth. The roots of teeth help support the structure of the jaw as well as the other teeth, similar to the way the roots of trees extend through and support the earth. Depending on the location, replacing a missing or extracted tooth with a dental implant can have a profound impact on the ability to retain other natural teeth.

Depending on the cause of the missing tooth, other aspects of oral health may be affected if left untreated. The dentist can assess current overall health, with regard to oral health and individual self-care dental habits, then counsel patients for their specific needs. If the tooth loss is due to periodontal disease or severe dental caries, the disease or bacteria could spread beyond the loss of the tooth and affect overall periodontal health and adjacent teeth. Treating at the first signs of trouble will boost likelihood of full recovery from the problem. 

The loss of a tooth from damage or injury, dental caries (cavities), or for any other reason, leaves a space in the jaw that creates a vulnerable point for the other natural teeth.

Tooth loss due to injury or other damage may have caused additional trauma to the adjacent teeth, jawbone, facial nerves, or other tissues in the region. Establishing the cause of the damage or loss of the tooth can help the dentist better treat the individual case for the best success possible. If the tooth loss stems from a non-dental condition or medication that adversely affected the teeth, bones, or tissues, this also must be established to provide opportunity for the dentist to treat and/or counter the adverse effects.

Patients with good overall health and oral health, sufficient jawbone, and healthy gums, are typically good candidates for dental implants. The implant is surgically placed within the jaw then a dental crown is attached to provide the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth. The use of the implant helps to stabilize the remaining teeth, preserve jawbone by reducing the body’s natural tendency to erode jawbone over time, and provide support for the facial muscles and nerve structure to help maintain health. Options are available for those with bone or tissue loss, depending on circumstances.

For more information regarding dental implants, missing teeth, and overall dental health, contact our caring dental specialists at 512-200-7422 today!

Posted in: dental implants

Leave a Comment (0) →

Are there Food Restrictions with Invisalign?

Invisalign north AustinDid you know that the straighter your teeth are, the less likely you are to have tooth decay and gum disease? While some may view a straight smile as an aesthetically pleasing trait, straight and properly positioned teeth promote good oral health, too.

When teeth are crowded or overlapping, tartar buildup tends to accumulate because flossing and brushing teeth is much more difficult. Over time, tartar buildup can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Our dentist believes that achieving a straight smile is important to oral health, and for this reason, our practice is proud to offer Invisalign.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is very different from traditional wire and metal braces. Instead of metal oral appliances, patients will wear a series of retainer-like appliances called aligners. Invisalign aligners are clear and soft, making them a discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional braces.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign aligners apply gentle pressure to the teeth, like other forms of orthodontic treatment, to straighten them over time. Every few weeks, patients will receive a new, custom fitted aligner that fits slightly tighter than the previous set.

Is eating and practicing oral hygiene difficult with Invisalign?

Invisalign is very unique when it comes to orthodontic treatment because the aligners are removable. Unlike fixed, traditional braces, patients will take out their aligners during oral hygiene and meals. This allows patients to enjoy all their favorite foods without worrying about breaking a wire or bracket. Tough and chewy foods are no longer off limits. Patients can also easily keep their mouths clean and free of debris from food.

What is involved with receiving treatment with Invisalign?

If you’re interested in Invisalign, the first step you should take is to schedule a consultation with our experienced dentist. During your appointment, our dentist will evaluate the placement of your teeth and your bite to determine if Invisalign is best for your needs. Our team will also answer questions and concerns you may have.

To reserve your consultation, contact Balcones Family Dental today.

Posted in: Invisalign

Leave a Comment (0) →

What Kind of Bite Issues Can Invisalign Correct?

 Invisalign Cedar ParkA patient’s bite, also called an occlusion, refers to how the upper and lower arches of teeth line up when the mouth is closed. Bite issues or malocclusions can have significant effects on oral health. Besides straightening teeth, one of the major objectives involved with orthodontic treatment is to correct malocclusions to prevent damage to teeth, gums, and the temporomandibular joint. To help prevent the far-reaching effects a bite issue can have on oral health, our dentist offers Invisalign to straighten teeth and correct malocclusions.

How a Misaligned Bite Affects Oral Health

When teeth do not align properly, patients typically experience unnecessary tooth wear. As the teeth scrape against each other, tiny cracks will form in tooth enamel and teeth will eventually become weaker. Weak teeth are susceptible to decay and fracture. In addition to weakening teeth, a bad bite can also strain the joint that connects the skull and jaw (the TMJ) and its surrounding tissues. As the TMJ forces the mouth to a healthier position over time, the joint and facial muscles fatigue and patients hold a higher risk for developing TMJ dysfunction. Dysfunction of the TMJ can produce severe discomfort in some patients—especially in the form of facial pain and headaches.

How Invisalign Can Help

Like braces, Invisalign straightens teeth over time. Patients wear clear aligners that apply force to the teeth to correct misalignments. Invisalign can help improve bite issues such as over bites and under bites along with straightening gapped, crooked, crowded, and overlapped teeth. Unlike traditional braces, however, Invisalign is very discreet and removable. Very popular among teenagers and adults, Invisalign allows patients to remove their aligners during oral hygiene and meals. Since the aligners are clear, Invisalign is a very inconspicuous method for achieving a healthier and straighter smile.

To learn more about Invisalign, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our experienced dental team. At your appointment, we can determine if this type of orthodontic treatment is best for your situation.

Call us today at 512-200-7422 to book a consultation.

Posted in: Invisalign

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 9 12345...»